Ramna 1/2 Hard Battle


Review by Karl Krueger



Graphics: 7

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 4

Overall: 5

What was my first anime? The one that got me hooked? Oddly enough, it wasn't even an anime. It was a game based on an anime. Back in 1995 on a rare visit to my friend Jason Chen's house, I discovered this game. It went relatively unnoticed when it was released because anime hadn't really exploded quite yet. Jason's 2 older sisters were huge Ranma 1/2 fans however, and that is probably the only reason he owned the game. Since it was the only real 2-player game he had, we invested a lot of time into it that night. I couldn't do that now, but in 1995 this game was great. It certainly isn't the best fighting game even of the time period, but it certainly isn't the worst either.

For those unfamiliar with Ranma 1/2, let me explain the characters (and subsequently what drew me to the game and the world of $20 subtitled VHS tapes). Ranma Saotome is a 16-year-old martial arts master who, thanks to a bizzare cursed spring, changes into a girl when splashed with cold water (and back with hot water) His father is similarly cursed, only he changes into a panda (a playable character in this game as well). Mostly due to his pain-in-the-ass dad Ranma has 4 suitors, the most important of which is Akane Tendo, who is the only one he actually loves (though he certainly won't let her know that). The long-running manga and anime chronicles the wacky hijinks of teenage love, with lots of fights thrown in.

As for the actual game, it's a standard licensed fighter. Our cartoon characters get platformers, Japan's get fighting games. The fighting engine is stale, and has long been outdone by nearly any fighting game franchise made by Capcom or SNK. Really the only good point of the game is the license, though the soundtrack is worth mentioning. There are a few nice quirks such as some character's abilities to double-jump, and 2 different ways to block (holding back like in Street Fighter or Tekken, and a block button like Mortal Kombat or Virtua Fighter) which makes this one of the few games where people who are used to different defensive strategies can play together. It probably won't hold your interest unless you're a fan of the series, though.

Even if you ARE a fan of the series, you may have mixed feelings about this game. This game features many key characters from the series such as Ryoga, Ukyo, Shampoo, Mousse (yes folks, Shampoo and Mousse) and a few minor characters that were big in the series at the time the game was made (Gambling King, Gosunkugi, Pantyhose Taro). It captures the feel of the anime pretty well, and plenty of signature attacks are thrown in, but the voice acting will probably make you cringe. It seems they grabbed a few random people and threw them into a booth for the U.S. release. You'll feel this way too when Ranma boy-type gives you a frat boy "I WON!!!!" for the first time. Proceed with caution.


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Last updated: Sunday, May 01, 2005 08:59 AM